Ubud is a town on the Indonesian island of Bali in Ubud District, located amongst rice paddies and steep ravines in the central foothills of the Gianyar regency. One of Bali\\\'s major arts and culture centres, it has developed a large tourism industry. Ubud has a population of about 30,000 people, but it is becoming difficult to distinguish the town itself from the villages that
8th century legend tells of a Javanese priest, Rsi Markendya, who meditated at the confluence of two rivers (an auspicious site for Hindus) at the Ubud locality of Campuan. Here he founded the Gunung Lebah Temple on the valley floor, the site of which remains a pilgrim destination.
The town was originally important as a source of medicinal herbs and plants; Ubud gets its name from the Balinese word ubad (medicine). In the late nineteenth century, Ubud became the seat of feudal lords who owed their allegiance to the king of Gianyar, at one time the most powerful of Bali\'s southern states. The lords were members of the satriya family of Sukawati, and were significant supporters of the village\'s increasingly renowned arts scene.
Tourism on the island developed after the arrival of Walter Spies, an ethnic German born in Russia who taught painting and music, and dabbled in dance. Spies and foreign painters Willem Hofker and Rudolf Bonnet entertained celebrities including Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward, Barbara Hutton, H.G. Wells and Vicki Baum. They brought in some of the greatest artists from all over Bali to teach and train the Balinese in arts, helping Ubud become the cultural centre of Bali.
A new burst of creative energy came in 1960s in the wake of Dutch painter Arie Smit (1916-), and development of the Young Artists Movement. There are many museums in Ubud, including the Museum Puri Lukisan, Museum Neka and the Agung Rai Museum of Art. The Bali tourist boom since the late 1960s has seen much development in the town; however, it remains a centre of artistic pursuit.
The main street is Jalan Raya Ubud (Jalan Raya means main road), which runs east-west through the center of town. Two long roads, Jalan Monkey Forest and Jalan Hanoman, extend south from Jalan Raya Ubud. Puri Saren Agung is a large palace located at the intersection of Monkey Forest and Raya Ubud roads. The home of Tjokorda Gede Agung Sukawati (1910-1978), the last \"king\" of Ubud, it is now occupied by his descendants and dance performances are held in its courtyard. It was also one of Ubud\'s first hotels, dating back to the 1930s.
The Ubud Monkey Forest is a sacred nature reserve located near the southern end of Jalan Monkey Forest. It houses a temple and approximately 340 Crab-eating Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) monkeys.
Ubud tourism focuses on culture, yoga and nature. In contrast to the main tourist area in southern Bali, the Ubud area has forests, rivers, cooler temperatures and less congestion although traffic has increased dramatically in the 21st century. A number of smaller \"boutique\" style hotels are located in and around Ubud, which commonly offer spa treatments or treks up Ubud\'s mountains.
The Moon of Pejeng, in nearby Pejeng, is the largest single-cast bronze kettle drum in the world, dating from circa 300BC. It is a popular destination for tourists interested in local culture, as is the 11th century Goa Gajah, or \'Elephant Cave\', temple complex.
Ubud is a remarkable town in the middle of the island of Bali. For more than a century, it has been the island\'s preeminent centre for fine arts, dance and music. While it once was a haven for scruffy backpackers, cosmic seekers, artists and bohemians, Ubud is now a hot spot for literati, glitterati, art collectors and connoisseurs. Famous names walk its busy sidewalks everyday. Elegant five star hotels and sprawling mansions now stand on its outskirts, overlooking the most prized views in Bali. Nonetheless, Ubud is still popular with backpackers, mystics and all the finest fringe elements of global society. Ubud is not \"ruined\". Its character is too strong to be destroyed. It still draws people who add something; people who are actively involved in art, nature, anthropology, music, dance, architecture, environmentalism, \"alternative modalities,\" and more.
Ubud is arguably the best place to use as a base if you\'re visiting Bali; if you\'re looking for culture, comfort, nature and inspiration. Ubud is surrounded by most of the things that bring people to Bali scenic rice fields, small villages, art and craft communities, ancient temples, palaces, rivers, cheap accommodation and unique luxury hotels. And it\'s central location makes it easy to get from Ubud to the mountains, beaches, and major towns.